I have seen the strength of essential oils. I respect their potency and so should you. Essential oils are an extremely concentrated combination of multiple chemical constituents and therefore require caution when using them. This is especially true with little ones. Essential oils should be much more diluted for use with babies as compared to use with adults.
Babies and Children should never ingest essential oils
Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and babies. Certain essential oils could be toxic if ingested. No essential oils should be given orally to children. According to Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety;
The majority of cases of essential oil poisoning involve accidents with young children, often between 1 and 3 years of age. Approximately 75% of cases in the USA are in children up to 6 years old.
Dilution is very important for ALL essential oils
There is no exception in this category. ALL essential oils should be diluted for use with babies and children. There are many applications for essential oils with babies and children, but they should be kept away from a child’s face. Do not use oils in or around the nose in children. I prefer to massage the feet of young babies rather than the chest and back, or use diffuse for the safest application of essential oils.
Diluting essential oils is done by adding a drop (or more) of the essential oil into a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil. If you’re wondering what proper dilution to use, this is a great resource – click here –
Introduce one essential oil at a time
When introducing essential oils to babies, remember that you haven’t yet discovered the things they are allergic to. It’s important to introduce essential oils one at a time and sparingly. If your child is going to have a reaction to an essential oil they will likely show signs of a reaction in the first 15-30 minutes after inhalation or dermal application.
What age is safe to use what oils?
A very common and important question. There is a lot of conflicting information out there and still very little known about the use of many essential oils on babies and children. It is best to use your judgment when choosing essential oils for your child. I base my practices on the information in Essential Oil Safety – By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. I also spend a lot of time on blogs like Learning About Essential Oils. These are both fabulous resources!
Here are two quick references:
Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils are all avoided in younger children because they contain a chemical constituent called cineol 1,8 and menthol. This is according to Robert Tisserand, in the newest edition of Essential Oil Safety:
This is why its suggested you avoid the use of these essential oils (and others containing a high content of these chemical constituents) in young children. Peppermint is safe to use at 6+ years but ALL eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils should be avoided until 10+ years of age.
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
If you have doubts about using an essential oil on a child, just pause and ask. I’m happy to answer any questions you have or do the leg work to get you an answer quickly.